The Way is a Y-shaped stick – a divining rod pointing toward the future, which you hold in your hands
Awakening is the invitation to pour forth your radiance, to emerge and expand from the center of the heart the way that sunlight pours forth from the sun.
Generously. Abundantly. Continuously.
As you awaken, you become aware of this invitation – which is always here, everywhere: like a Y-shaped stick lying on the ground. This ‘Y-shaped stick – is a metaphor – a symbol, which you can hold in your hands so you can see, symbolically, that the way is yours to choose.
Let me repeat that: The way that you move is yours to choose.
You cannot choose what flows toward you. The world is the world, doing its own thing as you do yours. You can, however, choose the direction in which you turn. You can choose where you place one foot and then the other.
The Way that you move is yours to choose.
I’ve been thinking about this a lot lately. I’ve been changing all kinds of things in my life: redecorating an ‘impossible’ house, completing a college degree, which it was ‘too late’ to finish, quitting a job that I’d held for years because I didn’t want to do it any more. Choosing the way that I live, the way that I learn and the way that I spend my work hours.
I’ve also been practicing a new way of caring for my body: I completed a 200-hour, six-month yoga teacher training (last month! Yay!) and, in the process, invented a radically new way of eating and moving – and lost 26 pounds in the process. Those were 26 IMPOSSIBLE pounds, until I changed direction.
Changing direction changes the end point of the path that you’re on – and that changes story that you’re in. And that changes everything – because everything that happens emerges out of that story. (Have you caught on yet that this is a kind of magic?)
Every moment is an invitation to choose a new Way.
Every moment a chance to move toward the same old, same old or shift toward something … new. And you are totally free here. No one says you have to shift or change.
You can stay just where you are, doing the same things you’ve been doing. But if you want to, you can turn. Right here. Right now. Toward an end point you can only see in your mind’s eye right now: the image of yourself shining and free, opening your heart to life. (You can already see this image, can’t you? There you are, joyful, engaged, splashing barefoot through puddles of color and glitter.)
As that glimpse of playful possibility shimmers through you, it leaves a trail of glitter clinging to your skin. Later, when you notice the glitter (another metaphor) it will serve to remind you (another bridge) that maybe, someday, you might live like that, might BE like that free and shiny self in with splashy, color-puddled feet.
Now, sometimes, playing with ideas like these can feel like juggling fire swords: dangerous. You might feel something you don’t want to feel – like the distance between where you are now and that shiny life. And that would suck and ache.
It would remind you how, with all your busyness, you push your own needs (and joy) to the corners of your life. It reminds you how you numb all the color and feeling from your life as you reach for your favorite distraction.
This divinely discontented feeling is guidance. It’s good for you. It makes you DO something about it. It drags you right up to your edge: the fork in your road with the scarecrow pointing in both directions. Which way should you go?
Go forward. Notice what is here – offering itself to you. Say yes to it. Or say no. Look down and notice that Y-shaped stick lying by your feet.
Pick up the stick.
Hold the stick in your hands. Notice how the branches converge – two becoming one. Let it be a metaphor. It’s a divining rod – let it talk to you. Let it whisper directions in your inner ear.
This week when I was ruminating about just such a choice of my own, a friend asked me a question.
It was one of those magical questions, which spiritual teachers keep in their pockets for moments like these. Like bright gold keys, like Y-shaped sticks, these questions help unlock the mind when it coils in on itself.
Her question: Which pain will you choose: the pain of the path toward what you want, with discipline and determination or the pain of the path of regret?
I fell instantly, absolutely in love with this question. So I HAD TO share it with you.
That question liberated me from the illusion that the ‘right’ path is the easier path. It freed me from the BS that the path toward love will always feel all cushy and hug-lined and loving.
Waking up is terrifying sometimes. We see things we don’t want to see – about our relationships, our friends, ourselves and the world we live in.
But going back to sleep is mind-numbingly painful, too. We miss the joy, the engagement, the bright freedom – the fun – of being alive.
So for me, the question, Which pain do you choose? is like that Y-shaped stick. It reminds us that we are invited, every step of the way, to choose the ‘pain’ and the direction of our journey.
And that no matter what choice we make, if we hold our heart facing love, we will walk straight toward it.
Pick up the stick.